Free Pokey Pinning Name Practice Activity


At the beginning of the kindergarten year, it’s important to work on names. Here is a good fine-motor skills activity that offers creative name practice.

This is a free pokey pin activity that is editable. That means you’ll be able to put in the names of your students and you’re ready to print.

Pokey pinning free coconut tree name pokey pinning page

Since we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom early on in the school year, I thought it would be the perfect tie-in to work on learning names and practice fine motor skills!

Let me share a little background about this pokey pin free activity and lay down the ground rules on how to use it. {wink}

Name practice in kindergarten

Since names are so crazy important to the foundation we lay for reading and writing, I really do spend a lot of time working with and on names.

Since each child’s own name is their favorite word in the anyway, we might as well capitalize on the built-in intrinsic value of it all.

Some things we do with names on a daily basis are:

  • read a name chart in a sing-songy voice (yep, I’m teaching them as if they were sight words!)
  • pick a line leader and finding bits we know (pulling in a reading strategy) which allows me to later introduce vowel patterns, r controlled vowels and such for those who are ready for it…
  • and oh yeah, well, their names are everywhere
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom freebie coconut tree name pinning page {printable}
Student leading the class in reviewing our name chart as students follow along

At the beginning of the year, I like to bring in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as a main read aloud. We make a class book with our names as an extension of the story.

This pokey pin activity is designed to help me introduce the pokey pinning center, which is one of our year-long literacy centers.

So, I am connecting the read-aloud to our new literacy center while giving them practice on their names.

This free pokey pin activity sheet is the first page they learn to do at this center.

We practice this literacy center as a whole class. Everyone gets their own pokey pin page.

The best parts of a pokey pin activity like this

Low and behold they are growing killer fine-motor muscles while doing work like this and it’s totally evident so early on in the year where the most work is desperately needed.

Beginning of kindergarten Pokey pinning free and editable coconut tree name pokey pinning page

I love that they have to also build core strength when lying on the floor, propped up by their elbows to complete such work.

Overall a win in my book and hence why it’s a year-long literacy center in my room that focuses on sight words.

The materials you’ll need are pretty basic: copy paper, construction paper, pushpins, and a stapler.

How to make yours

So how do you edit this freebie for your class and add their names?

  1. First, download this pokey pinning activity sheet in Powerpoint or upload it to Google Slides. [terms of use] [downloading help] (If you open in Powerpoint and click the “Enable Editing” button that appears at the top – usually in yellow)
  2. Change the font of the student names to a font you like. I recommend Leslie’s Hand or ABCPrint.
  3. Duplicate the slide for the number of students you have.
  4. Type in your students’ names at the bottom of each half sheet of paper in the included free pokey pin activity powerpoint file below.
  5. Save it and print.

And if you have a kinder who already knows their name (like someone who repeated kindergarten) you could simply type in their last name to work on. You have the freedom to change it up since this free pokey pin activity is editable.

Free pokey pin activities

Next, you’ll need to

Cut your printed papers in half and cut plain construction paper sheets to match. (The size of your papers should be 5.5″x8.5″)

And then it’s time to use them in the classroom.

Here’s how to teach this activity

You can introduce and do this as a whole group activity (provided you have enough floor space for them to sprawl out) or introduce it in small groups.

Teach your students how to staple the two pieces together so that their work doesn’t slip and make it unreadable (although there will be some with such poor fine motor control that this will be inevitable).

You could staple them all for them ahead of time, but we’re going for teaching them a skill they can use all year long, so it’s a good time to teach this upfront.

Next, make ’em promise to use pokey pins correctly. You teach them to handle a pushpin just as you would a pair of scissors. They need to learn to use this tool responsibly and be held accountable.

And let ’em go! 

They trace the letters and coconut tree using poked holes. I like to model that if you can’t “see” the words or picture clearly when you gently lift the front template to look at the colored construction paper page, then you’re not quite done yet…

Pull apart the two sheets and display the construction paper pinned paper. The template piece is discarded.

Hang the finished colored construction paper piece in a window to let the light shine through – revealing the picture and text.

Let’s wrap it up

There you have it – a beginning of kindergarten fine-motor skill activity that works on names. I hope it’s handy to you as you get your classroom up and running.

If you love pokey pinning and want to use it as a literacy center – then I’ve got your back. Get lots of pokey pin templates that your students will love and you’ll love what they’re learning. These are editable too.

Pokey Pinning Sunlight Sight Word Catchers for Kindergarten

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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  1. I downloaded this into my Dropbox, but I cannot get the PowerPoint to let me edit anything. It won’t even light up the printer for me to print. My tech person even tried to help and he said it has an issue and he couldn’t even get it to let us edit or print. Can you help?
    I love this and want to start it next week if possible.
    Thank you,
    Jolene Corkwell

    1. Hi Jolene,
      When you download the zipped file – first you’ll need to extract the file (if you haven’t already) from the zipped folder. Here’s how to do that: Then you’ll want to open the Editable file in Powerpoint and click the “Enable Editing” button that appears at the top of your powerpoint program. (Usually in yellow) I hope that can help you get started!
      – Leslie

  2. Thank you for all you do! I have so much of your work in my classroom- both free AND purchased! My classroom is much better now! Thank you!

  3. This is really, really cool! I’d love to see how kids will use it for goup activity. Very interesting and educational!

  4. Leslie, this is perfect, as always. This is the first year, of my three years in kindergarten, for me to put a lot of focus on the Chicka books. I think it’s a way for me to show my independence of all things the admins are shoving on our plates. In fact, I stopped the hours of lesson plan writing on Thursday and created my coconut tree for in our hallway and sent letters home to decorate as a family project for our tree. These are the important things of kinder-learning, not hanging developmental scales and spending 15 hours on lesson plans. I love the pokey pins and you’ll definitely see my kinder-bears engaged in this activity this week during our learning stations. Thank you.

    1. Betsy, It’s neat to hear how you are making changes in your thinking! Good for you to do what you know is right. I’m sure your families will see that determination shine through which will only come back to shine upon you!
      – Leslie

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